Ever since I started traveling abroad I never really tried staying in a hotel. It’s either I stay with a friend or booked a place through Airbnb. In my several experiences with Airbnb, I never came across with an uncomfortable place or a terrible host. I think it has to do with how keen I select the places that I go to. It’s not a 100% guarantee but it will minimize your chances of bumping into one.
Like facebook, Airbnb is also an online community. This community is composed of hosts and guest travelers. One major thing that you need to consider is your reputation. The system in this community works both ways in terms of reviews. The guest can leave a review for the host after the services has been given and, likewise, the host can write a review for the guest. As a traveler, I am focused more on good reviews from my hosts as this will give more confidence to people who will host me in the future. Also, maximize all means of verification in building a good profile. These include government-issued IDs, email addresses, and phone numbers. Basically, this is a community built on trust.
In looking for a place in Airbnb here are some tips that you need to know:
Like Agoda and other similar platforms, you can filter your search to find a specific place that you have in mind. You can do filter according to the (1) Rooms and beds, (2) Amenities, (3) Facilities, (4) House Rules, (5) Neighborhood, (6) Host Language, and (7) Price Range.
On the left side you will see the profile of the place including the price and the number of reviews. On the right side you will easily see the location of the place. The place on the map is represented by a price so you will be able to see in one glance which one is affordable. This will also give you a perspective as to the location of the place in relation to the nearest tourist destinations. Normally, places near the city center are pricey. Your alternative is to find a place that is near the bus or train station. It is also wiser to stay near convenience stores and restaurants.
Profile of the Place
Carefully read the overview of the place that you are checking. It’s in this part that the host usually provides you all the information that you need including nearest bus/train stations, wifi, space, sleeping arrangements, and other necessary information.
Before booking a place, check the house rules. There might be house rules that are not in favor of your preference/s. Check-in time is usually found under house rules. Usually it’s 3:00-4:00 P.M. It’s important to consider the check-in time base on your time of arrival in the place. Some hosts allow you to check-in early and check-out late.
This is the most important part in the identification process. Reviews give you more information than everything that’s written in the profile of the place. It provides real experiences of the guests. Experiences with the place and the hosts themselves. It is essential to choose accommodations that have atleast 5 reviews to somehow give you a sneak peak on what’s to expect during your stay.
This is an important factor when you are still unsure of your travel or still waiting for your visa. Sometimes, you need to book for accommodations in advance as you don’t want to cram and end up with an expensive place. Whatever situation you are in, I still suggest you book for a place with a more loose cancellation policy as you will know when emergencies happen. Learn more about it here.
Like other websites, Airbnb has a referral system. Whenever you invite someone and they signup and make their first booking, you both get a travel credit that you can use later on or deduct it on your first trip. Last 2016 I got P995 per referral but I checked again and the promotion, as of today, went down to P600 per referral. You also both get travel credits when you host someone. It can go up to P2,850 per referral.
From time to time you will also encounter Superhosts. They are people who have excelled in terms the quality standards of hosting they give to their guests. They respond quickly, provide you detailed information and have exceeded expectations of their guests. This is an accreditation that Airbnb awards to its top performing hosts. When you check their profile you will see an orange-pink medal. If you find an affordable place hosted by a Superhost, you know what to do.
When you book for a place, you will have to wait for the approval of the host. This is the part I told you about that you need to build a good reputation as some hosts will check your profile. If you have good reviews from different hosts then you have nothing to worry about. However, there are also hosts that provide another option for those who want quick approval. This is the Instant Booking option. There are accommodations that have this feature and you don’t have to wait longer for an approval. It is represented by a lightning icon.
Aside from accommodation, Airbnb also has other features that can help you with your travel. Here are some:
- Experiences – This is a feature that showcases different activities that you can do once you get to your destination. These can be cycling activities, surfing, swordplay and the likes. They also have a corresponding price per activity.
- Places – Another feature is the Places. It’s focused on different categories such as Food Scene, Drinks and Nightlife, Entertainment and Activities, Shopping Arts and Culture, Parks and Nature, and etc.
- Diversity – No need to worry about discrimination as Airbnb has a strict policy on this. CEO Brian Chesky’s statement, “At the heart of our mission is the idea that people are fundamentally good and every community is a place where you can belong. I sincerely believe that [discrimination] is the greatest challenge we face as a company. It cuts to the core of who we are and the values that we stand for.”. Learn more about it here.
There you have it. This post does not limit you from staying in hotels but will teach you some stuff about selecting places in Airbnb if ever you’ve decided to stay in one. Plus, you will get to meet wonderful people along the way. Sometimes, the most wonderful immersion of culture can be found in Airbnb. Trust me! 🙂
If you are new to Airbnb, click this link below and register so we both get travel credits on your first booking in the future.